Noûs 39 (1):1–42 (2005)

Authors
Peter Vranas
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Abstract
You may not know me well enough to evaluate me in terms of my moral character, but I take it you believe I can be evaluated: it sounds strange to say that I am indeterminate, neither good nor bad nor intermediate. Yet I argue that the claim that most people are indeterminate is the conclusion of a sound argument—the indeterminacy paradox—with two premises: (1) most people are fragmented (they would behave deplorably in many and admirably in many other situations); (2) fragmentation entails indeterminacy. I support (1) by examining psychological experiments in which most participants behave deplorably (e.g., by maltreating “prisoners” in a simulated prison) or admirably (e.g., by intervening in a simulated theft). I support (2) by arguing that, according to certain plausible conceptions, character evaluations presuppose behavioral consistency (lack of fragmentation). Possible reactions to the paradox include: (a) denying that the experiments are relevant to character; (b) upholding conceptions according to which character evaluations do not presuppose consistency; (c) granting that most people are indeterminate and explaining why it appears otherwise. I defend (c) against (a) and (b).
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.0029-4624.2005.00492.x
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 1968 - Harvard University Press.
Mortal Questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 91 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Self-Deception as Pretense.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2007 - Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):231 - 258.
Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches.John Doris & Stephen Stich - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

View all 31 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Skepticism About Character Traits.Gilbert Harman - 2009 - The Journal of Ethics 13 (2-3):235 - 242.
Extremity of Vice and the Character of Evil.Peter Brian Barry - 2010 - Journal of Philosophical Research 35:25-42.
No Character or Personality.Gilbert Harman - 2003 - Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (1):87-94.
Schizophrenia and Indeterminacy: The Problem of Validity.Geoffrey Hunt - 1990 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 11 (1).
Indeterminacy and Interpretation.Günter Abel - 1994 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 37 (4):403 – 419.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
1,165 ( #4,985 of 2,506,032 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
23 ( #38,624 of 2,506,032 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes